With the Colts offseason in full swing, here is a quick overview of the Colts heading into 2016, both the good and the bad.
-Kendall Langford, Henry Anderson(coming back from ACL), David Parry and Arthur Jones (if he can stay healthy) can help shore up the defensive line that has been a crutch since the Grigson/Pagano era began.
-The defense was better against the run last year than it has been for most of the Pagano era. If the defense can build on this, they should be in a good position heading into this year.
-Vontae Davis can improve upon on his performance last season to revert to his 2014 form while Patrick Robinson should be a clear upgrade over Greg Toler.
-Clayton Geathers appears to be looking good in OTA’s and showed some flashes last season while Mike Adams should be adequate unless his age finally catches up to him this season.
-The LB core is clearly the weak point of the defense. Adding Ted Monachino should help given his history with LB’s but the overall talent just isn’t there. Losing Jerrel Freeman to Chicago is also a big hit. Trent Cole was a disappointment for most of the season. Robert Mathis is a year older while Erik Walden won’t contribute much more than he already has to this point.
-Darius Butler continues to be a liability in coverage outside the slot and didn’t look all that impressive last year in the slot vs. his previous seasons. Once you move past Davis and Robinson, the CB position looks very sparse.
-The offensive line should be improved by simply adding center Ryan Kelly and former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Kelly will help Luck with a number of his calls at the LOS while Philbin should help the players be more sound from a technical perspective. I believe this is a critical part of the offensive line’s success that might’ve been a major factor in the line’s shortcomings. However, some questions still remain.
-The WR core should be improved with a healthy Dorsett and another year of experience for Donte’ Moncrief and T.Y. Hilton.
-Andrew Luck being healthy speaks for itself. Last season the team finished 8-8 while he missed significant time. However, even when Luck played, his performance was abysmal at times. Him improving and cleaning up his bad habits will be the key difference.
-The offensive line continues to be a major question mark despite the draft addition of Ryan Kelly. Joe Reitz appears to be a good fit at RT but is injury-prone. Castanzo had an off-year last year so there is some question as to whether he will rebound or not. The RG position continues to be the biggest question mark with no definitive player standing out to fill this position.
-The RB position has grown into a bit of a question mark as well. Gore is in the last year of his deal while the slots behind him appear to be muddled at best. If Gore were to miss any time due to injury, the lack of depth will become apparent very quickly.
-The tight end position isn’t a huge cause of concern but there are some questions. To much surprise, Dwayne Allen was retained and Coby Fleener signed with New Orleans. Jack Doyle looks to see an increased role opposite Allen. However, given Allen’s bout with injuries, it’s fair to wonder how he will hold up this season.
It’s a bit of a no-brainer but the coaching staff changes should be the biggest help to the team. Joe Philbin has had some success in the past working with offensive linemen and players appear to be receptive to him thus far. Chudzinski will able to implement his full offense that has seen success when he was in both Cleveland and Carolina. Brian Schottenheimer should bring some fresh perspective to Luck as well as help him clean up some of the bad habits he’s developed. Ted Monachino has had a history of working well with LB’s from his time in Baltimore and should align more philosophically with Pagano given their work history.